Camilla tries her hand at brewing ‘Duchess Celebratory Ale’ on visit to Wiltshire

Yesterday, The Duchess of Cornwall was in Wiltshire, where she had two engagements: Camilla visited Marlborough St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, before she headed to Arkell’s Brewery, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary.

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Upon Camilla’s arrival at Marlborough St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, The Duchess of Cornwall was greeted by crowds of schoolchildren waving union flags to welcome their royal visitor.

Duchess Camilla was formally welcomed by the school’s Headteacher, Anne Schwodler, as she began her tour of the school’s new building. The building, used by 380 pupils, was opened last year after the merger of St Mary’s Infant School and St Peter’s Junior School.

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During her visit, Prince Charles’ wife watched pupils from the school perform a poem and visited a sensory classroom for children with special needs. Camilla also dropped into a Geography lesson and a English class, where the patron of the Literacy Trust took an interest in finding out what the students are learning about. One of the school’s English teachers, Lucy Pash, was impressed by how long Camilla (who has five grandchildren) spent chatting with the pupils.

The Duchess of Cornwall also spoke to members of the school’s radio club, whose radio station is funded as part of a National Lottery scheme; the St Mary’s radio club records podcasts, which it then broadcasts to the school. Some of the radio club members told the Duchess that the scheme has really helped them to develop their confidence and public speaking skills.

Camilla was then treated to a performance by the school choir, who sang two songs which they will be performing at the Young Voices concert next week in London’s O2 Arena.

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Before leaving, the Duchess said a few words to the pupils and staff: “It has been a real pleasure to visit today. I know it has taken a long time to get this to fruition but you can see it has worked brilliantly, I can see a lot of happy children. I’d also like to wish the best of luck to the school choir next week in their concert and I know they will do very well.”

Camilla then visited Arkell’s Brewery, which is based in Kingdown, Swindon; this year, the brewery is celebrating its 175th anniversary. The Duchess was greeted by four generations of the Arkell family, including 10-year old Izzy, who was delighted to have the chance to present the royal visitor with a posy.

During the visit, it was Camilla’s responsibility to open the brewery’s new shop and visitor centre.

The future Queen also toured the historic brewhouse, where she was able to even try her hand at brewing a special beer named in her honour: The Duchess Celebratory Ale includes Plumage Archer, a historic type of barley which was sourced from her husband’s farm at Highgrove; Prince Charles is passionate about local sourcing.

Camilla’s contribution to the process was ‘swinging the Valentine’, a technique which involves pulling a large lever which controls the liquid being extracted from the barley and the ‘mash’ detritus.

During her visit, The Duchess of Cornwall praised the firm for its strong family connections, joking that “you all seem to be related to someone else”. Camilla also said that she was looking forward to being able to taste her beer, which Alex Arkell described as “dark and malty, but with a really tropical hoppy flavour”.

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